Tipping is one of the most confusing customs in the world, and expectations vary from country to country. In the US, most people in the service industry expect a tip; while in China, you should not give a tip unless you received exceptional or luxurious service. Additionally, tipping is generally considered an imprecise art. Some individuals tip generously, even if the service is poor, while others go out of their way to avoid tipping. If you need some basic Canadian tipping guidelines, here are a few suggested rates to get you started.
Tips are rarely included in Canadian restaurants, so it is customary to tip approximately 15%-20% of the total bill. Keep in mind that this number is approximate; if you choose to tip more or less, it’s your personal decision.
Server: Tip 15%-20% of the total bill before taxes.
Bartender: Tip 10%-20% of the total bill before taxes, or tip $1 per drink.
Coatroom attendant: Tip $1-$2.
Washroom attendant: Tip $0.50 to $1.
Parking valet or garage attendant: Tipping $2-$5 per car delivery is ideal.
Wine steward: Many sommeliers receive their cut of the tips at the end of the night, so it is not expected to tip them separately from your other servers. You can include the appropriate tip amount (10%-15%) for the total bill.
Food delivery: Tip 10% of the total bill, though 15%-20% is recommended for a difficult delivery.
Before you skimp on the tips, remember that some provinces allow lower wages to be paid to gratuity earners or inexperienced employees. Many servers depend on tips to make up the difference in their wages. A few dollars for service might not seem like a lot to you, but it could mean a great deal to a server struggling to pay rent.
Keep in mind that tipping varies depending on location, so when traveling, make an effort to learn what the local customs are regarding tipping. If you’re living in Canada, these tipping rates are common.
Taxi/cab driver: If your taxi driver is friendly, helpful, and gets you to your location quickly, tip 15% of the final fare.
Airport shuttle: If your driver is particularly friendly or helpful, tip $2.
Hotel doorman: If your doorman helps with bags or hails a cab, pay $2 in tips.
Hotel bellhop: If your bellhop carries your bags, tip $2 for the first bag, and $1 for each additional bag.
Hotel housekeeper: How much you tip depends on how much of a mess you make and how long you are staying. Pay $2-$10 daily.
Hotel concierge: Don’t feel obligated to tip if you’re just asking for directions. However, for assistance beyond the norm, $5 is recommended.
Hotel room service: Service charge is usually added to the bill, but feel free to tip a few dollars ($2-$4) extra.
Train attendants: You don’t need to tip the conductor, but if you’re in a sleeping car, feel free to tip $5-$20 per trip to the attendant. Note that train attendants do not rely on tips for income.
In some businesses, you may see a tip jar on the counter where you can leave your gratuity rather than tipping an individual. However, these tips are often divided among employees, and the amounts may vary depending on the number of hours an employee works. If you think a specific employee deserves a good tip, then be sure to give it to him or her personally.
Hairdresser: Tip 15%-20% of the bill for stylists. You may also separately tip those who wash and dry your hair ($5-$10).
Spa and massage: For a particularly good massage or other spa service, pay 10%-20% of the bill.
Golf caddies and forecaddies: Tip a caddie 50% of the caddie fee, and tip the caddie master (if there is one) 20% of the caddie fee. A forecaddie (who keeps track of your group shots) should receive a tip from your group, usually about $50-$100 total.
Barista: No tip required, though you may choose to contribute to the tip jar.
Manicurist: Tip 15% of the total bill.
Grocery loader: Check with the store policy. If tips are accepted, tip $1 for bringing bags to car, $1.50 to $3 if you have more than 3 bags.
Do You Have to Tip?
Tipping is a gift. While tipping generously is appreciated, it isn’t always required or necessary. While some individuals may be irritated if you under tip, the choice is ultimately up to you whether you should tip. How much, whom, and when you tip depends on your budget and your satisfaction. In some locations, tipping has been replaced with a fixed optional service charge, and in others, business owners are foregoing tips and paying employees higher wages. If you have a difficult time determining how much to tip, plenty of smartphone apps are available that will calculate the tip based on the industry and the total bill.